Review of Bikes Not Rockets

Cover art for Bikes Not RocketsBikes not Rockets (Microcosm Publishing, 2018), edited by Elly Blue, is the fifth volume in the Bikes in Space series, all of which feature speculative fiction centered around bicycles. The theme of this volume was intersectional stories, and it collects eleven stories in that vein.

The stories in this volume vary between those that take place in space or on other planets, and those that are still based on earth, either preceding, during, or after an apocalyptic event of some sort. But all of the stories share a common theme in addition to including a bicycle—they’re all stories with an element of hope. Sometimes things don’t go quite the way the protagonist might have wanted, but there’s always a sense that some good will come of the events.

Several of the stories really drew me in with their descriptions and imagery. “This Dusty Way to Galaxies Beyond,” by Julia K. Patt, had vibrant imagery that really made you feel like you, too, were in a dry place where you might live out your entire life. But the story she weaves is one of a girl who wants to go to space, and though her dream might not be realized in the course of this tale, there is a promise that someday, it might be possible for her to leave the planet of her birth.

The characterization in “At The Crossroads” by E. L. Bangs was phenomenal, immediately interesting me in Callie and Diego as they took part in an interdimensional bike race, with the fate of the Earth hanging in the balance. I also adored “First the Rapture, Then the Paperwork,” by Summer Jewel Keown, for its adorable version of the bureaucracy of Heaven being overwhelmed when the Rapture came.

If you’re a bicyclist or just enjoy speculative fiction stories of hope and intersectionality, you might enjoy checking out Bikes Not Rockets. This book is available through the Microcosm Publishing website, with a release date of December 4, 2018.

The editor provided us with a free copy of this anthology in exchange for review consideration.

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